Buy something when shopping in-store at virtually any retailer, and you will likely head to your car with the item tucked safely into a plastic bag.
But depending on where you shop, that might be changing soon.
Many retailers — including some of the largest — are looking at options for eliminating plastic bags from their stores.
Earlier this year, Walmart launched a “bagless pilot” in Vermont after the Green Mountain State banned single-use plastic shopping bags at stores and food service establishments. Maine is implementing a similar ban, and Walmart stores in that state went bagless this month as well.
According to Walmart:
“Key learnings from the final outcome of the [Vermont] pilot will be used to determine future direction for our company’s bagless efforts.”
In 2018, Kroger announced that it plans to eliminate all single-use plastic bags from its stores by 2025.
In an opinion piece in the Cincinnati Enquirer, Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen wrote:
“The plastic shopping bag’s days are numbered. Our customers have told us it makes no sense to have so much plastic only to be used once before being discarded. And they’re exactly right.”
However, the move toward ending plastic hasn’t been without setbacks. A move to ban single-use plastic bags in Cincinnati stores — originally scheduled for June 1 — recently was pushed into 2022.
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Like Kroger, Dick’s Sporting Goods has announced plans to eliminate all single-use plastic bags from the shopping experience by 2025.
In a press release, Peter Land, chief communications and sustainability officer, said:
“Our customers are outdoor enthusiasts who are passionate about working together to keep our planet clean and safe for future generations. Like our customers, we’re committed to doing what we can to prevent waste from ending up in our oceans and natural environment.”
Target, CVS, Walgreens and more
Several retailers have signed on as members of the Beyond the Bag Initiative. Launched in 2020 by the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag, the initiative’s goal is to “reinvent the timeless experience of getting goods home.”
Technically, the retailers that have joined this three-year initiative are simply agreeing to explore alternatives to single-use plastic bags. Most have not announced formal plans to eliminate plastic bags from stores.
However, the retailers’ willingness to join the group indicates that each is at least considering moving away from plastic bags. In addition to Walmart, Kroger and Dick’s, members of the Beyond the Bag Initiative include:
- Dollar General
- T.J. Maxx